Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A bro'

My brother, Philip Alexander Seward, passed away last night at age 62.

He started out a young fellow who many thought would be on his way someplace. He'd graduated a year early from high school, attended Virginia Tech for a time, then VCU. Went on to work as an bank auditor and an accountant.

But he had chronic health conditions that made his life an uneasy roller coaster ride in both mood and metabolism. Ultimately, any conventional plans he had were undone.

After doing what he could and living everywhere from New York to Florida, he moved back home to live with his mom.

Restless and seeking sociability, he'd frequent restaurants, cafes, truck stops, diners and convenience store counters in nearby Surry, or in Ivor or Windsor or Waverly or Suffolk or Portsmouth. Out there somewhere he might talk to a trucker or a farmer or a waitress or the owner of where he was or someone else passing through.

In later years at home, he'd watch international business news on satellite TV, always seeking information and looking for a connection to the flow of events that his plans might have made for him out in the world.

As his physical condition became less steady, he chose to go out less frequently and to places closer by.

He moved to a rest home in Richmond early last year. His health continued to decline despite the efforts and attentions of so many, including his mom, eldest brother and sister-in-law. In form and comprehension, he was shrinking and becoming ever frailer. And at some point, the coming of this day became obvious.

So I created a label that tied together the bits of him I'd shared here with everyone & anyone & no one in particular.

He's the second sax player from the left here:

The wild knit shirt there are two sides to is one he wore (no doubt while dancing the Hustle in Va. Beach) in the '70s. The jacket from Loraine's Restaurant in Ivor is his old jacket from his old haunt. He was the one who told me there was a Stuckey's coming. Or the one I met for lunch at a now long gone Smithfield steakhouse.

He was a big part of this vanishing world, where I'd grown up and where I'd go back to visit.

And now like Elvis (or I should say James Brown), he's left the building. And the stage lights are down.

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